TECHNICIANS CHECK NEW YEARS BALL.jpg
Technicians eye the new improved New Years ball, with halogen lamps for greater visibility, in New York City in 1978.Chester Higgins Jr.—The New York Times/Redux
TECHNICIANS CHECK NEW YEARS BALL.jpg
Mayor Edward Koch
New Years Ball 1994
SEXTON GIULIANI SILVER STRAUS
The New York Times Square Ball sits atop 1 Times S
Peter Gravagna (L), Raymond Nieves (C) and Felix O
WORKERS TEST CRYSTAL BALL IN NEW YORKS TIMES SQUARE
A workman installs one of 72 new Waterfo
Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Goes On Display
The Waterford Crystal ball in place and ready for the New Year's celebration, on top of One Times Square in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009.
New Years Celebrations
2014 New Year's Eve Philips Ball Test
Technicians eye the new improved New Years ball, with halogen lamps for greater visibility, in New York City in 1978.
Chester Higgins Jr.—The New York Times/Redux
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Having a Ball: See Photos of the Times Square New Year's Ball Through History

It's been over a century since the New Year's Eve Ball was first dropped, in 1907, in New York City's Times Square. According to the Times Square Alliance, the first-ever ball was a metal-and-wood orb that clocked it at 700 lbs. Since then, it's gone through several iterations, with the current ball — known as the Big Ball — clocking in at nearly 12,000 lbs. of LED lights and Waterford Crystal facets.

The location, TIME declared in 1988, is a meaningful one: "Americans' emblematic visions of their country incline toward the arcadian -- cabins in a peaceable countryside, a small town with no entertainment wilder than a Sousa band in the park. But in this century, as the U.S. became an urban nation, New York City 's Times Square emerged as a different sort of American apotheosis. Times Square exemplified a certain idea of the city carried to its frenetic extreme: a few blocks dense with too many lights and too much action, a happy chaos of honky-tonk night life (the Florodora girls, Legs Diamond's Hotsy Totsy Club), theatrical bliss (Barrymore's Hamlet, the Marx Brothers) and the spontaneous razzmatazz of the rialto," wrote Kurt Andersen. "There was a civic side as well: Times Square became the natural New York place for jubilation en masse, every New Year 's Eve and every time America won a war."

A live webcast of this year's ball drop will begin at 6:00 Eastern on Wednesday.

Read Next: See the 2015 Times Square New Years Eve Ball in One GIF

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